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from Christine and Matt Lawton

11th January 2012

Another birthday without the physical presence of our beloved and very precious son is approaching. Physically he is not with us and that will always leave us with enormous sadness but we are frequently made aware of his spiritual presence. So often throughout the year we have experienced his guidance and his love.

The quotation from St. Therese of Lisieux "After my death it will rain roses" was used on Paul's memorial card and as so many of us know that has been true in so many instances over the past six and a half years since Paul so tragically left us. We have often heard the words "that was Paul" from our family and friends who relate various incidents, sometimes happy, sometimes funny and sometimes in little stories of happenings to let us know he is always with us.

One such story came from Cous a few months ago. They had been trying to sort out the garden in their new house. There was a lot of stones and rocks to be cleared and one morning as she looked out of the window there was, amongst all of this, one very tall single red rose which came from nowhere in the middle of November, In the words of Cous "a rose like no other which just popped up to say hello". She sent us a picture of this rose and it really is a beautiful long stemmed single rose standing straight and tall and strong.

rose

Another story which we heard came from Beverley, Colette and Anna. Colette and Anna work part time in a pub close to where they live and the pub has a huge selection of songs on the play list. Colette and Anna had been working and Beverley went to meet them when they were finished to have a meal with them. She told them she had a present for them and produced tickets for a concert. It is very hard to put this in writing as to how absolutely amazing it was but as she handed them the tickets, instantaneously the music from a group called the Lightening Seeds came on and the tickets were for a concert - the Lightening Seeds. Beverley and Paul, when they were younger were great fans of the Lightening Seeds. Of all the thousands of songs on that play list and the equal number of artists - for that particular group to come on just as Beverley handed them the tickets told all three of them that undoubtedly Uncle Paul was with them and was happy for them.

An elderly lady who recently had a total hip replacement with complications, was in a great deal of pain especially at night. She always has the book by her bedside in which Paul wrote an article that was published just before he died. She read that article every night and each night she was, in her words, "filled with a tremendous feeling of comfort and inner peace".

These are just three of many instances that we know of and I am sure there are more of which we have no knowledge but would love to hear of. Paul's memory lives on just as the music lives on. Indeed the CD "Great Stuff" is still being sold by CD Baby. Any money received from the sale of this is now going to the Paul Lawton Memorial Scholarship for Music and Musical Theatre. This scholarship helps a student of St. Clair College, Windsor Ontario to accomplish his/her ambition in the music field. The Catholic High School here in Chester recently did a musical production of "Oliver". Our youngest grandson Finn, auditioned and was successful in getting the the part of Oliver. It was an outstanding production and worthy of being played in any of the big city theatres. Finn received a standing ovation for his amazing performance. Needless to say we were very proud of him and it truly emphasized to us just how important it is for students to receive the assistance that Paul's scholarship gives to them.

We had a family Mass in memory of Paul here in Chester today and then we all went for breakfast and wished Paul a Happy Birthday. Because our daily Masses are during the daytime, it is not always possible for family members to attend due to various work and school commitments. There will be another one however on the 11th here in Chester and one in Vancouver at St. Augustine's in the evening. We have heard that Paul's tree in Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver has been decorated for the big day in the true blue of Everton with the odd silver one here and there which is Milan's touch. It is so tall now that they need a ladder to reach to the top. After the tree decoration they all went and drank a birthday toast to their friend. What a wonderful family of friends! How touched and grateful we are to each and every single one of you for keeping our son's memory alive. We have lost our precious son but we have gained a group of his friends who have become so very close to us and will always be close to our hearts.

In conclusion we leave you with the following quotation

"Every memory of friendship shared even for a short time is a treasure like sunshine and warmth in our lives, like a cool breeze on a humid day, like a shower of rain refreshing the earth" Anon.

Happy New Year to all of you.
Christine and Matt

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